Early Morning Walk

Dear Liza,

Our weather here in Portland has taken a dangerously hot turn. This weekend it got up past 105 degrees….. both days! We have been very careful about staying safe, hydrated, and comfortable.

We had the air conditioning repaired a few weeks ago, so our house stays nice and cool. We make sure and drink lots of water and stay inside during the heat of the day.

And my vegetables need to be watered even more than usual. We have been going out before 9 a.m., and on Saturday it was 80 degrees F by then. Still, gallons of water will let them live through the heat wave.

While we were out, and while it was ‘cool’, we walked a few blocks. So many flowers are blooming! I noticed that most of them had been very recently watered, so their people are doing right by them. These jasmines and clematis were climbing over a trellis and making a lovely sight.

Black-eyed Susans, of course, love the heat. My momma grew them in Oklahoma when she was little.

I hope you are staying cool on your visit to your Grandpa Victor and Baba Alla in Moscow.


Grandma Judy

Summer Surprises

Dear Liza,

This weekend brought some lovely surprises. Even though the weather was really warm on Saturday, Grandpa Nelson suggested a walk. “Let’s head down to Division,” he said. “There’s ice cream, and gelato, and even frozen yogurt.” So we headed south.

The sun was hot, and the sidewalks got hotter as we walked. It was afternoon, but the shade wasn’t much help. “Maybe we find a pub a little closer?”Grandpa sighed. We agreed, and found the delightfully decorated McMenamin’s Bagdad Cafe and theater, down on Hawthorne. They had food and drinks, A/C and friendly folks.

Some pretzel fondue, tuna sliders and beverages later, we were refreshed and ready to head off. Grandpa Nelson was still feeling the heat, so he headed for home. Auntie Bridgett and I continued on to Laurelhurst Park. It can be full of surprises.

And it was. We found an impromptu violin concert along one end of the lake, and a reading of a play I’d never heard of at the other. Both had collected small but appreciative audiences. We listened for a bit and walked on.

I love walking in the park when it is buzzy! There were folks walking dogs, playing frisbee, and practicing circus tricks with hoops and slack ropes. Kids hollered and ukuleles were strummed. It is a like all the best of life, just out playing on the lawn.

When we left the park we were absolutely vibrating from all that human energy! And the surprises weren’t done yet. Growing on a telephone pole-supported grape vine were the beginnings of this year’s grapes.

Always something to see….


Grandma Judy

Talking about Birds

GetAttachmentThumbnail-5.jpgDear Liza,

Our unusually hot weather is supposed to continue all this week, even getting up to 107 degrees on Wednesday. So we are doing walks in the early mornings and late evenings, when it is cool. This morning Grandpa Nelson and I went out around 9, while Auntie Bridgett was working.

We headed to Laurelhurst Park, because the huge trees make it delightfully cool and shady. Before we got to the park, we noticed a yard that has had a small flock of plastic flamingos in it. The flamingos are usually perched under a small tree, but for the last few days. they have been gone. We were a little worried. Had someone taken them? Where were they?

Today, they were back! And they must have been camping, because they were in their usual place but with the addition of a small make-believe campfire, sticks with pretend marshmallows, and a small tent with two flamingos in sleeping bags. Some of the flamingos were wearing little hats or coats. It was so cute! One of the things I like about Portland is that even the grown-ups like being silly. Since we are silly, too, it makes us feel at home.


Once we got into the park, We heard some high screeching up above. We looked and saw two young  hawks chasing each other through the trees, as if they were arguing. This is one of the kinds of birds we saw at the zoo,  that have learned to live in the city.

Young Hawk Photo credit:conservewildlifenj.org

These two hawks seemed very healthy, and had very strong opinions about which tree was theirs. We watched for a while, talking with some people who have seen young hawks here every summer. Laurelhurst Park is big enough that it must feel like a forest.

Further into the park, we heard the usual bunch of crows talking to each other, chasing each other around and eating leftover sandwiches from picnics the night before. They seemed careful to stay away from the part of the park where the hawks were. I guess in the world of birds, hawks are tougher than crows.

We went for another walk much later, after the sun had gone down. We walked the neighborhood, noticing that some of the smaller trees are looking dry with all this hot weather. On our way home through the Laurelhurst Park, we saw about 50 people, dancing…to no music. There were hoops being tossed in the air, and long ribbons being twirled, and dancers all over.


Then we noticed that they were all wearing headphones, and it turns out they were all listening to the same music, which was being played by a DJ and broadcast to their earphones. This looked a little strange, but it is a good way to have a dance party in the middle of a neighborhood and not bother anyone else with the music. What a good idea!


Grandma Judy